It’s all normal, they said.
Nothing terrifies me more than one of my kid’s friends running up to me, and asking, “Can we do a play date sometime? My mommy says it’s OK.”
Or worse, I go to pick my kids up from school and they shout (in front of everyone and their MOTHER), “can I go on a play date with my friend? Its today, right now actually. We need to meet at the park!” Why? Why must they unexpectedly shove me in social situations!?
Why because this is all a normal part of growing up and learning to socialize! Hello folks, it’s that time of year again:
- New school year
- New friendships
- …many scheduled play dates.
Someone shoot me now! 😑 Don’t get me wrong, I have two great kids, who wouldn’t want to hang out with them!? I do. I just wish they wanted to play with me as much as I do them!
< lt; lt; lt; h5>Play Dates vs 'Playdating' So I'm guessing if your reading my blog you already know what a play date is: a play session for small children arranged in advance by their parents. But how about ‘playdating’… Have you been introduced to this fun term?<<<< ydating' describes the relationships parents are somewhat forced into when we schedule our children for social outings. ‘Playdating’ typically occurs between parents of children ages 0-5 years old. After age five its more of a social norm to drop the child off for a solo play date. Unless of course you are a helicopter parent.
This all sounds so great and easy, so why do I freak out emotionally when my child runs up to me begging to go on a play date? I’ll tell you why!
The internal struggle
Situation: Your trying to setup play date, but have not yet committed to ‘playdating’.
Your standing a foot away thinking, “don’t forget to make good eye contact, does my breath stink, shoulders back, I’m going for it… “Hi, I’m LeeAnn, Jaxon’s Mom. My son eats dirt too!” Yes!!! Nailed it.Situation: The play date is scheduled and now you have to go. You are still not yet playdating.
Your kid is on a play date with Fred from down the street. You all decide to meet at the local park. What a great day. The sun is shining, there is a nice breeze, and your kid is going to burn off lots of energy! Bonus, the kids are playing nice. Then you see it, Fred’s Mom brought a snack for everyone without telling you. Like seriously! She says, “I just threw something together real fast for the kids, she says this as she pulls out organic apple slices, warm homemade cookies AND fresh squeezed orange juice… [mmhhhh]. She knows I’m onto her, so she says, “it was no trouble really!” Completely frustrated about being “out-Mommy’d,” you now have to decide to make small talk for the next two hours with the overachiever mom from down the street, or pretend you have something to do on your phone. Or maybe the kids will let you play with them….<<<< on, its not that bad right!? [caption id="attachment_316" align="aligncenter" width="1080"] I wouldn’t say this if it doesn’t really happen![/caption]
< lt; lt; lt; ow don't get me wrong, once in a Blue Moon my kids will go on a play date with a kid who has a parent who I can actually relate to. Someone who doesn't try to shove their lifestyle down my throat, over-mommy me in front of my own kid, and will actually show up wearing regular cloths (Not heals and a skirt). Personally, I'm as socially awkward as a person can get ......... The more uncomfortable I get, the more awkward the situation gets for everyone involved. If you’re a new parent, please don’t take my experiences as a one size fits all for your ‘playdating’ future! Some people are little chameleons and can get along with everyone even if it’s just for an hour! Lucky ducks!<<<< an't there be an eHarmony or Match.com for 'playdating'? A place where parents can go and pre-screen other parents before taking the dive into complete social and/or family commitment... Because that's not life. Our kids want to play with the friends they choose, not the other way around (unless they are under the age of three an really don't give a sh*t). Why does it feel like having kids completely hits the reset button on your social life? It's like going to your first day of school all over again. Learning how to talk to someone, topics to discuss. Parenting is hard, but I've said that.
Can you date a non-parent “person”?
Why do I have to date other parents?? Oh right! Because dating a single “non-parent” individual is like being reminded daily just how much sleep I don’t get, how out of shape I am, and oh right, maybe I should take off my sweats for the day! FU and your beautiful, stylish self! But I love my comfy sweats! Wait until you have a child!!!! I’ll just continue to hang out with other parents and we can all agree life is hard.
Making My Life Easier
My Mommy Calling Cards
It’s not that I don’t think I won’t vibe with new Moms and Dads. I just have social anxiety and I prefer to “meet” them first over the phone first. Yes I am a wimp. So, to help me I keep play-date calling cards on hand for when I get cornered by my kid and their friend. When in a hurry or just to nervous to talk to another parent, I can given them a card. !
Do You Move Around A Lot?
For the moms out there that move a lot, and trust me I know moving. As a military family we move a ton, 8 times since my daughter was born, and she turns nine next month, these calling cards are great for meeting new people. You can build up a new social circle in half the time it usually takes. Unless of course you have social anxiety, then your screwed. J/K. J/K. No this is not a sponsored blog, I just truly believe in them.
How to Break Up
So you gave ‘playdating’ your best shot, but you and Jill are just not clicking. Here are a few suggestions if you’re just not that into them? (I recently “broke-up” with my daughters BFF)
- Don’t feel guilty. We adults do not have to be friends just because our children are best friends. We do not have to hangout, share other friends, or anything else that would commit either of us to a relationship. We are cordial to one another and most importantly, we are good role models for our little humans because we want them to grow up doing the same.
- Breakup Strategy. Make a clean break if your child is a baby or a toddler. This will be it easier on everyone involved in the long run. Young children can get adequate social stimulation from kids of the same age without an established friendship. However, older children who have developed meaningful relationships and best friends, will require a much different strategy. At this point, if you haven’t already, I would recommend simply transitioning the kids over to solo play dates. Sorry helicopter moms, how much do you want to break-up! Keep in mind, if you are personally invited to a play date by the other child’s parents, just decline. (I know, easier said then done sometimes).
- The kids are no longer friends. Let’s be real, the parents are not the only ones who need to support a healthy relationship during play dates. If the relationship between two or more children goes sour what are the parents to do? NOTHING! You are adults, schedule time together sans kids!!
No matter the anxiety or lack thereof, keep this with you always: when two adults begin dating, there are only two personalities; but when a family dates, there can be four or more personalities involved in the relationship. So as I learn to manage my expectations, let’s all be realistic and enjoy our kids and their childhood. It all goes by so fast!
< em>Disclaimer: These are my own thoughts and opinions I have generated by living life, being forced into awkward situations by my kids, reading articles written by professionals, etc. I am not a professional, unless you mean professional BS-er! I’m just a Mom trying to help other people get through their day with a smile!<<< gt;<<< ><< p>< /p>